Wildlife photography? No. Look again. This hare is a needle felt sculpture.
I didn’t know that was a thing. But apparently it is, because Etsy is full of them. Here are some more:
Before I show you more examples of these realistic needle felt animals, I ought to clarify the process used to produce them. Kenya Finley, one of the artists who creates animals like these (including the dog pictured above) explains, “These little critters start off as a bit of wool fiber or ‘fluff’. Special barbed needles are used to poke the wool fiber hundreds and hundreds of times until it begins to bind together and is then sculpted.” Some of the animals have wire framework inside. They aren’t toys–they are collectibles, artwork. Many are very small (sometimes the photo includes a human hand for scale), so when you see the prices (all are available for sale–linked to their info on Etsy.com–just click on the name below each photo), realize that the cost reflects intensity of labor, not size. Some of the artists also make sculptures of pets from photographs.
Now we are switching gears altogether. The rest of the animals in this article are sewn from wool felt, rather than sculpted from needle felted wool. Some of the animals below are sold already made; others are available as kits, and downloadable directions are available for the rest.
Once I started looking at these creatures online, I couldn’t stop. The frog, the raccoon, and the fox in the suit are what first caught my attention. I found the others when I did a search on Etsy for felt animals. I love the cat, the crow, the mice, and the aardvark.
What about you? Do you have a favorite? Share your thoughts in the comments below.